Authorities in Slovenia arrested 8,200 border violators in the first seven months of the year, 80 percent more than in the same period of the previous year, and the number of people applying for international protection also increased, the country’s interior ministry revealed on Monday.
Tomaz Pavcek of the border police said that the majority of migrants had started their journey from Afghanistan, adding that the number of people arriving from Cuba, India, and Burundi has also increased significantly this year. These are countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Serbia.
He pointed out that groups and individuals helping migrants to cross the border illegally were also active in the first seven months of the year — the police detained 130 people from 30 countries suspected of people smuggling, most of them Serbian citizens. He added that the number of people applying for international protection had also increased, with 90 percent of the detained illegal immigrants requesting protection in Slovenia. However, the majority leave the country before the end of the asylum procedure, Pavcek explained.
The border police official said that despite the fact that the number of illegal border-crossings had increased slightly compared to the period before the coronavirus epidemic, the police did not notice an increase in the number of crimes committed by foreign nationals entering Slovenia illegally.
Meanwhile, in the past 11 days, the Slovenian army has removed more than 1 kilometer of barbed wire fence from the section of the border with Croatia; removal of the fence has also begun on the stretches of the border where no large number of illegal border-crossings were registered. Breaking down the fence between Croatia and Slovenia is one of the priorities of the new left-wing government led by Robert Golob.
Back in 2015, at the height of the first migration wave, Slovenia built a 176-kilometer-long barbed wire fence on its 670-kilometer border with Croatia due to the wave of migration. This was later gradually replaced by a panel fence and expanded.